Draft regulation currently under consideration would legalize factory farm conditions for organic chickens.
While the proposed rule claims to protect and improve “animal welfare” in organic farming, all it will accomplish is the further destruction of independent organic farmers who do things right and therefore cannot compete with “organic” mega-corporations that can sell their foods at far lower prices because they cheat on the organic standards.
OrganicEye, an organic industry watchdog, warns the proposed rules undermine organic standards further by permanently codifying practices that violate the spirit of organics, and even the current letter of the law.
The proposed rule would allow organic poultry farmers to stack birds in multitiered aviaries stretching from floor to ceiling, providing as little as 1 square foot of space per animal. Outdoor space requirements are also limited to 1 to 2 square feet, depending on the size of the bird.
The draft rule allows egg-laying hens to be conned for the first 16 to 21 weeks of its life, and broiler chickens can be conned until just one or two weeks before their scheduled slaughter. The rule also allows half of the outdoor area to be covered in either concrete or gravel, which prevents the chickens from engaging in their natural instinctual behavior, which is already an organic requirement.
Image: Artem Beliaikin @ Unsplash